After a night of sleep, it is time to "break the fast." Starting your day off right with a nutritious breakfast can be a little daunting when you are busy with family and work routines. If you are like me you are probably a little sleep deprived, too, so you sleep as long as possible and do not have a lot of time to cook or sit still and eat in the mornings.
Unfortunately, most Americans skip breakfast or eat something high in fat and calories with little nutritional value. This can lead to weight gain, future health issues, and even affect your ability to concentrate throughout the day.
We have grown accustomed to thinking of breakfast as an optional meal that is typically high in carbs if you are eating cereal, toast or doughnuts. What we don't consider is how, after eight to 10 hours of sleep, our bodies are in a breakdown mode (catabolic state) that requires protein to effectively switch the body into a building mode (anabolic state). Typically, we eat less protein than needed at breakfast and more protein at dinner than can actually be stored for later muscle use.
Eating breakfast, especially a breakfast containing 30 grams of high-quality protein, can improve your overall nutritional intake and health. Eggs are an inexpensive source of 13 essential micronutrients and a good source of high-quality protein. When partnered with foods high in fiber and other essential nutrients you can have a balanced meal that can get your day off to a good nutritional start.
For a long time, people were told to avoid eggs because the yolks contain cholesterol, and they were considered too high in fat. Now, studies have determined that for most people, one egg a day will not increase their chances of heart disease or affect their cholesterol levels. The key to eating eggs or any other food is in moderation. Too much of anything can cause problems.
Consider preparing your on-the-go breakfasts ahead of time to save time and stress in the morning. Eggs lend themselves to a variety of tasty breakfast foods that can be prepared in large batches and then frozen. Making a breakfast burrito yourself allows control of the quality and types of ingredients used. When preparing your own, you can choose foods that fit your family's likes and allergies.
Keep in mind while you are preparing your on-the-go egg dishes that food safety always needs to be a priority. Eggs can be contaminated with salmonella, a foodborne illness that can cause serious illness. When handling raw eggs, never use one that is already cracked, and make sure that you refrigerate store-bought eggs. Egg dishes should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees and should be refrigerated within two hours after being prepared. Always wash your hands and any surfaces with soap and water that come in contact with raw eggs.
If you would like to know more about preparing balanced breakfasts for you or your family, The Benefits of 30 Grams of Protein at Breakfast, FSFCS98 (uada.edu) handout is available online for free. You can also contact the Garland County Extension Service for more ways to be deliberate in choosing healthy foods that will help you feel good and start your day right! Call 501-623-6841 or email [email protected]
Alison Crane is a Family and Consumer Science Agent with the Garland County Cooperative Extension Service.
Tortilla Cups with Eggs
makes three servings
¼ cup mushrooms (washed and chopped)
¼ cup bell pepper (washed and chopped)
2 cups chicken broth (low sodium or homemade)
1 tsp. black pepper
4 flour tortillas
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut each tortilla in half and then in half again. This will result in four equal pieces per tortilla.
Spray six muffin tin cups with nonstick cooking spray. Overlap two to three pieces of tortilla in each muffin tin to cover completely and create a cup. Press into muffin tin. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Bake tortilla cups for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Mix eggs, mushrooms, bell peppers, and black pepper in a medium mixing bowl.
Pour egg mixture equally into tortilla cups.
Cook for 20-25 minutes until eggs are cooked through, or when internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
To freeze: allow cups to cool, place in an airtight container or freezer baggie with wax paper between the layers. Be sure to label with the name of the item and date frozen. To reheat: remove 1-2 tortilla cups from packaging and place on a microwave-safe dish, cover with a paper towel. Heat for 1-1 ½ minutes on high depending on the wattage of the microwave.
Notes: You can optionally top with salsa, green onions, or sour cream.
Nutritional Information: 230 calories per serving; fat: 10g; carbohydrates: 21g; protein: 13g.; and sodium: 310mg.
This recipe is adapted by Alison Crane from the University of Illinois Extension
Applesauce French toast
makes six slices
sprinkle thyme or sage (optional)
¼ cup applesauce (unsweetened but to use sweetened applesauce, remove about ¾ teaspoon of sugar from the measured amount)
½ tsp. vanilla
½ cup milk (nonfat or 1%)
2 tsp. sugar
6 slices whole-wheat bread
In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, cinnamon, sugar, vanilla, and applesauce. Mix well.
Soak bread one slice at a time until the mixture is slightly absorbed.
Lightly spray or oil a skillet or griddle. Cook over medium heat until golden brown on both sides.
Serve hot with a topping of choice.
Refrigerate leftovers within two hours.
To freeze: allow the toast to cool then place in a freezer baggie or airtight container. Be sure to label with the name of the item and the date frozen. To reheat: remove 1-2 pieces from packaging and place on a microwave-safe dish, cover with a paper towel. Heat for 1 minute on high depending on the wattage of the microwave, then add toppings.
Nutritional Information: 140 calories per serving; fat: 3.5g; cholesterol: 65mg; carbohydrates: 24g; protein: 8g.; fiber:
2g; and sodium: 220mg.
This recipe is adapted by Alison Crane from Oregon State University Extension
Makes four servings
¼ cup milk (nonfat or 1%)
½ cup cheddar cheese (grated)
1 tsp. oil
1 cup fat-free refried beans
1 tomato (chopped)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
chili powder to taste
Mix eggs, milk, and seasonings in a bowl.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat (350 degrees in an electric skillet).
Stir in the eggs and cook until firm.
Warm the tortillas on a griddle or wrap in foil and heat in the oven.
Warm the refried beans in a separate pan.
On each tortilla, layer ¼ of refried beans, eggs, cheese, and tomato.
Roll the burrito, cut it in half, and enjoy!
Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.
To freeze: allow item to cool, wrap with plastic wrap or wax paper, place in freezer baggie or airtight container. Be sure to label with item name and date frozen. To reheat: remove burrito from packaging and place on a microwave-safe dish, cover with a paper towel. Heat for 1-2 minutes on high depending on the wattage of the microwave.
Nutritional Information: serving size is ½ burrito. 210 calories per serving; fat: 8g; carbohydrates: 24g; cholesterol: 100mg; protein: 10g.; and sodium: 530mg.
This recipe is adapted by Alison Crane from the Oregon State University Extension